Updated at 11:30,08-12-2016

Minsk hails Eastern Partnership summits declaration

The Belarusian foreign ministry welcomed the declaration adopted by representatives of the 27 European Union countries and six former Soviet nations at a May 7 summit in Prague.

The Eastern Partnership, a program which the EU hopes will help it forge closer ties with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, was formally launched at the summit.

In its Thursdays statement, the Belarusian foreign office said that the declaration had been drawn up with Belarus "active involvement" and met the countrys interests.

Belarus was represented by Deputy Prime Minister Uladzimir Syamashka and Foreign Minister Syarhey Martynaw.

In his speech, Mr. Syamashka reportedly stressed that the program should be based on the principles of equality and take into account the interests and peculiar conditions of each of the six post-Soviet states. The Eastern Partnership should not turn into a tool of fight for spheres of influence but rather serve the interests of all countries in the region and rule out new dividing lines in Europe, the vice premier warned.

The Belarusian delegation presented priority projects in the spheres of customs and border control, transport and energy that could be implemented in the framework of the Eastern Partnership.

Messrs. Syamashka and Martynaw reportedly met with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the European commissioner for external relations and European Neighborhood Policy, on the sidelines of the event. The delegation and representatives of the European Commission exchanged copies of a declaration on cooperation between the Belarusian government and the Commission in the sphere of energy, which envisages efforts to involve Belarus in EU energy projects.

In addition, the Belarusian delegation met with Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos to discuss bilateral relations and cooperation in the framework of the Eastern Partnership. Spain will take over the EU presidency at the beginning of 2010.

Apart from this, Mr. Syamashka met with executives representing "large Czech companies and banks" to discuss specific projects in the areas of energy, engineering, the petrochemical industry and logistics, according to the foreign ministrys press office.